A fortnight ago, University of Botswana Chancellor and former president, Sir Ketumile Masire capped 4136 graduates at the institution’s main stadium. Of the 4136 graduates, 407 attained diplomas, 3142 were awarded bachelor’s degree, 273 were conferred with master’s degree, 5 were awarded master of philosophy degrees and only 19 attained doctorate of philosophy.
Reading for a degree at a university is very arduous and cumbersome as students spends sleepless nights preparing for examinations and tests, making laboratory reports, going for field work and working on assignments and tutorials. Students of the 21st century are no longer worried about the workload and burden one has to undertake in order to be awarded his qualification, but prospects of finding a decent, better paying and rightful job for oneself.
Unemployment amongst the graduates and youth in general remain as one of the burning issues in the country. According to Central Statistics Office, unemployment rate in Botswana stands at 20 percent as per the BAIS IV report. In addition, Botswana’s unemployment rate is the second in middle income countries.
In an interview with WeekendPost, Bakang Ntshingane who was the only graduate of single major in political science blamed the education system explaining that it does not train or inspire graduates to be game changers. In addition, Ntshingane observed that tertiary institutions are caught off guard each time by the job market demands.
“We only assume that a degree is supposed to get us a job, but it is also supposed to teach us to change the way we think, and the only way to do that is to have an inspiring and challenging education system. We need to have an education system that is creative and imaginative enough to plan for the future, and institutions that are ready to handle the changing dynamics of the job market” reveal Ntshingane.
Another graduate, Titus Paul said that he was hurt that he had completed his studies. He said that prospects of decent employment are very slim as he has seen previous graduates loitering the streets with their hard-earned degrees. Paul pointed out that it is better to be a student as the government assist one with monthly living allowance in order to make ends meet.
“It is very sad to celebrate one’s graduation knowing that a great monster lies ahead. There is need to grow our economy, stop recycling civil servants and wave job requirements for graduates especially experience” argued Paul who graduated with a degree in economics.
Amos Kandjou shared the same sentiments with Paul. He said graduates should desist from leaning on the government rather they should make sure that they are employable and match the job market. He implored graduates to be strategic in order to penetrate the market.
Another graduate, Kabelo Mhuriro stated that as new batch of graduates emerge every year, the country is forced to face twin problems of increasing unemployment among young people and a phenomenon of mismatch between graduate supply and market demand. He called on the government to put in place initiatives that would improve employability of graduates.
For his part, Professor Thapelo Otlogetswe of University of Botswana explained that skills mismatch does not occur at the training-economy axis rather at the employment junction. Otlogetswe observed that educational qualifications no longer earns one a job but political connections and personal brand are determinants of securing employment over the nature of one’s training.
“Well trained persons are either unemployed or stuck in the wrong field and many of our critical areas are not led by qualified individuals. It is sad that our best minds lie desolate in the streets, discarded and ignored” concluded Professor Otlogetswe.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.